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New Poll in Virginia Governor’s Race Shows Biden Might Be in Big Trouble

Fresh polling showed good news for would-be Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin in Virginia.

SO WHAT

If Republicans manage to pull off a win in the Old Dominion, it will be a depressing bellwether of President Joe Biden’s prospects in the 2024 election.

WHAT HAPPENED

At 46 percent each, Youngkin and Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe, a former governor and close Clinton family ally, “hold identical levels of support among all registered voters,” according to a Monmouth University poll released Wednesday.

In prior Monmouth polls, McAuliffe’s lead was as high as 5 points.

  • Also distressing for Democrats was what the results say about voter enthusiasm, which shows an even wider disparity in favor of Republicans.
  • According to Monmouth, the disparity has grown to a 23-point gap: 49% GOP to 26% Democrat.
  • The RealClearPolitics average also shows a swiftly tightening race, and Republican-leaning pollster Trafalgar Group, even shows Youngkin leading.
REPUBLICANS AMPED

American Principles Project founder Terry Schilling told Steve Bannon on his “War Room” show on Thursday that a Youngkin victory is in the making way.

  • The pro-Trump candidate’s triumph will be “a tea party for families,” Schilling said.
  • Controversy over schools has dominated the race: “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach,” McAuliffe said to great controversy at a debate.
  • If Republicans gain a scalp in what has essentially become a blue state, the right will feel good about its message of “woke” left politics run amok, and feel comfortable moving ahead and targeting President Joe Biden with this message.

Although McAuliffe is a former Virginia governor, conservatives have seized on the sources of his financing and are attempting to present McAuliffe as an out-of-touch, even out-of-state Democrat.

  • It is a charge the Syracuse, New York native and former Democratic National Committee chair has had to fight his whole career in the old capital of the Confederacy.

And Republicans have even seized on financial ties to an associate of the deceased Jeffrey Epstein, with new donation information breaking on Thursday:

TO BE FAIR
  • McAuliffe is a known quantity in “the Commonwealth,” as the state’s called, and is essentially the incumbent in this race (Virginia does not allow governors to serve consecutive terms)… If McAuliffe snatches victory from the jaws of defeat, it will be a major letdown for Republican who got their hopes up so publicly.
  • Youngkin has done an awkward dance with Trump: the former Carlyle Group CEO has kept his distance from the former president, while quietly accepting his endorsement and the endorsement of Steve Bannon; some voters may find this incoherent, and fault Youngkin for what the Washington Post called “the Trump Hypocrisy Two-Step” on Thursday.
  • If the Democrats lose, the White House and President Joe Biden will swiftly seek to portray this as a local matter rather than a national referendum; that may be partisan politics but McAuliffe has made his share of mistakes, including the teacher comment, as well as an ill-advised admonishment of a reporter for not wearing a mask that went viral.

Nuance abounds: Youngkin’s ties to Bannon have been a liability at times and just this week, McAuliffe dynamited an interview with a journalist: “You should’ve asked better questions,” the career pol said.

BUT IF THIS HAPPENS

Two months removed from an absolute rout in California, the Biden White House will have swiftly suffered its biggest political loss to date.

  • The lesson will be that Biden is on the ropes, and that the Youngkin-Trump coalition of those with concerns about vaccine mandates, 2020 vote irregularities — as well as those who dislike Critical Race Theory and “wokeness” in the schools — is a surprisingly stable and potent coalition heading into 2022 and 2024.
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